Review: Call the Puffins! by Cathy Howe, illustrated by Ella Okstad

Cover image by Ella Okstad, published by Welbeck Publishing, 2nd March 2023

It is time for Muffin the Puffin to leave the safety of the underground burrow she has shared with mum and dad and fly with them to the Island of Egg to join the puffin training colony. On the one wing she is excited to begin her training but on the other wing, worried about passing the training challenges required to be recruited into “the Unflappables” the elite corps of rescue puffins!

This gentle and fun tale of teamwork, hard work and purpose, which reflects children’s experiences of being in new surroundings or joining a new class or a club, models the behaviour that enables friendship development, wrapped in a flapping good story. Cath Howe brings all the skill that I have admired in her books for a middle grade audience, this time delivering drama, humour and the cutest bundles of feathers imaginable. The greyscale illustrations by Ella Okstad are full of life and joy and I am sure will make young readers want to discover more about these beautiful seabirds. Fortunately this can start in the non-fiction section at the end of the book, providing some fun facts about puffins.

Call the Puffins! has been carefully designed to appeal to children who are gaining confidence as independent readers. The font is clear and nicely sized, with plenty of white space. The short chapters, 120 page length and liberal use of illustrations ensure that youngsters can gain that sense of achievement that results from being able to read a whole book and I am sure that this is a book that children will be queueing to borrow from the classroom or library shelves. An ideal choice for children of 6-8 years old.

My thanks to Welbeck Publishing and Antonia Wilkinson for my review copy of Call the Puffins! which was published on 2nd March 2023 and is available from book sellers now.


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